We’ve been married for 17 years, and have never felt the desire for children. We had a serious discussion about 5 years ago saying that if we were going to procreate it had to be soon as we were getting a bit old to be first-time parents. Well, we decided that we felt fulfilled and children wouldn’t do anything for us. My wife has been on the pill, but at 39, with increasing headaches at the time of the month, felt it was time to stop taking it. We looked at other options and decided on the vasectomy.
We went to see the doctor together, who seemed impressed that we had discussed all options thoroughly. He referred us to the local NHS vasectomy specialist and told us that the waiting list was very short. Well about 5 weeks later we got a consultation with Dr. V (as he shall now be known!) It was taken as read that my wife would be at the consultation too.
Anyway, Dr. V explained the procedure in great detail, with diagrams. His use of language was wonderful. He’s a gentleman of Asian origin, and to hear him say ‘OK, I have just drawn your bollock here’ was quite amusing under the circumstances. After asking if we had any questions (which we didn’t – didn’t really discover the website and newsgroup until after the event) he pointed out that the procedure would take place during the next 7 days, at a time convenient to us, and that if we couldn’t do it in the timescale we would go to the bottom of the list again. He suggested the next day, which was a bit of a shock, but then I thought, ‘what the heck, get it over with’.
So on 3rd August 2004, I had my vasectomy. It took place in a doctor’s surgery, and my wife watched the procedure. I was incredibly nervous, as I have a phobia of needles. Had I known what I know now I would have asked for some kind of sedative to take beforehand – Valium or something. Dr. V told me to expect intense pain for a few seconds when he injected each vas tube. He wasn’t wrong. When he cut my scrotum, I didn’t feel a thing, but when he went to pull up the first tube (my right one) I felt a really gut-wrenching pain and pulling sensation. My wife tells me he did the delving with his finger, which surprised me, as I was expecting him to use some kind of hook contraption to find the vas and pull it out. Anyway, I had to have a second injection in my right vas. My wife asked if it was normal and he said that in 30 years of doing vasectomies it was the first time he’d had to give a second injection.
Anyway, he clamped and used cautery to remove a section of each vas tube. The upper ends were folded over and stitched (according to my wife) but the lower ends of the vas (the end nearest my testicles) were just left. I’m assuming now that this was the open-ended procedure. He put 2 stitches in my scrotum, and that was it. 20 minutes and all are done. I felt some pain after about 20 minutes but took Nurofen Plus and it did help. I was asked if I wanted the sections of vas as a souvenir – no thanks!
The next day I felt like I’d been kicked all over, probably due to being so tense, and I had spectacular bruising. The whole of my tackle went black. Had quite a lot of swelling too. And of course, I was doing the John Wayne shuffle! Was worried the first time I had to pee in case it hurt, but it didn’t. First tried sex on day 5 – again was worried in case I got pain. There was a little bit but nothing too bad. The next couple of times afterward were a bit experimental and not too spontaneous, just testing the limits really, but it’s all fine now.
On about day 3 quite a large hematoma appeared on my penis. My wife made me sit with a bag of frozen sweetcorn on my nuts and take homeopathic remedies (apis mel and arnica). Surprisingly this really helped with the swelling and bruising. The next worse thing to having the V was having the stitches out on day 9. The doc didn’t use dissolvable ones for some reason and the nurse was surprised at this. She was very nervous at taking them out, and it did hurt a lot as the swelling meant that the knots of the sutures had become embedded. I originally went back on day 6 but she wouldn’t remove them as it had not healed properly. I had a small infection, but nothing too bad and it was sorted out with a course of antibiotics.
Well, I have to say that day 12 was the first time I felt really OK. My wife and I managed a 5-mile hike. Started to feel it a bit after about the 4th mile but was OK. So now it’s 4½ weeks after the procedure and although I’m almost completely pain-free, I occasionally get the odd twinge if I’ve been on my feet all day and my left testicle feels slightly swollen.
In retrospect, I have no regrets at having had the procedure and would recommend anyone who is seriously considering it to go ahead. Below is a list of things I would recommend, and wish I had known some of them before my vasectomy.
- Find out which procedure is being done, and if you have a preference, discuss it with your doctor beforehand.
- Ask for some kind of sedative if you’re nervous.
- Afterward, do absolutely nothing for 2 days. Rest up and use ice for any swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off). I made the mistake of trying to do stuff too soon. It’s not worth it
- Bruising responds well to the homeopathic remedy Arnica, and swelling is helped by Apis Mel, both taken orally. Yes, I was cynical too, but my wife insisted.
- Ask for dissolvable stitches!
- Salt baths twice a day to help with healing. Be very careful not to use too much salt as it burns the skin. A level tablespoon to a hip-depth bath is ample, or a pinch to a pint of water. I had been slinging in great handfuls until the nurse told me the correct quantities to use.
- After talking to quite a few people who’ve had a vasectomy, it seems that the bruising and swelling in my case was not what most people experience. I suspect a lot of it was because I was so nervous that everything tensed up and shrank. Also because I needed to have the second injection in my right vas, as the injection was being prepared I was bleeding internally from the cut in my scrotum.
Update November 13, 2004
We got the result of the second sperm sample today and it’s all clear. So that’s the two in a row we needed. All in all, happy with the way the procedure and aftercare have gone. Minor discomfort, and the odd slight ache 13 weeks later.
I hope my experience has helped someone out there.
Submitted by Tony
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